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November 09, 2002
"We care"

A whole world of inter-generational and inter-adult rivalry is summoned up by the question ("It is a good question" is the start of his response) that John Clare selects as number one for his Telegraph column of last Monday.

My granddaughters, aged eight and 10, have been educated at home for the past two years. I'm worried that they're not learning much, but there's no way of finding out. They don't take the national curriculum tests. All that Kent County Council does is send an educational psychologist round once a year. Are there no national standards? Don't we care about home-educated children?

It's a long time since I've seen the connection between "we", "care" and compulsion spelled out quite so clearly.

It also suggests a whole new slant on the expansion of the state: gran-power! Now that the baby boom is starting to fuss about its grandchildren, will it try to vote "education otherwise" out of existence?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 08:08 AM
Category: Home education

There are no national standards, of course: otherwise, Eton would have to conform to them too. Home educating parents are similar to independently educated children, not state school kids, in that their educators are free to decide how to educate them.

John Clare wouldn't whine, "Don't we care about Etonians?" or "Don't we care about Macdonalds?" and suggest state interference in their running, I contend. Home educating households are individual private businesses.

But having said that, home-educated children are at the mercy of their parents, and I have read horror stories of militant religious folks, for example, depriving their children of interaction with other kids so they can sit and do rote learning in a special work room for 8 hours a day followed by 2 hours of evening chores then bed. At least school alleviates some of the pressure on kids whose parents are nasty to them, and offers them a range of different ideas. It's just that these evil parents are not the ones the state inspectors would ban: they're the ones they would most encourage.

Comment by: Alice Bachini on November 11, 2002 09:06 PM
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